I worked it out. I’ve been tired a lot lately. There are all sorts of good reasons for this, having to do with seven-year-old girls waking their dads in the middle of the night, recurrent bouts of flu, lack of weight loss etc etc. There’s also been a lot more work at the day job, but there’s also this. I sort of just realised that six books I’ve worked on will come out this year. You’ve already seen The Jack Vance Treasury, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Best Short Novels: 2007, and The New Space Opera, and both Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction and Fantasy and Ascendancies: The Best of Bruce Sterling will be published shortly. I’m proud of all of them, but sort of surprised that there were so many. I’m also up to my neck in the year’s best for next year. It needs to be delivered and done by World Fantasy, so that’s a rush now. Oh, and I sold another book last week. More on that very soon. Busy times.
Read Greg Egan‘s very good long novelette “Dark Integers” in the Oct/Nov Asimov’s yesterday. It’s a sequel to his earlier story “Luminous” and features maths geeks saving the universe. For some odd reason it made me think of Charlie Stross’s Laundry stories, which feature a computer geek whose calculations threaten the fabric of reality. Is this some of kind of geek wish fulfilment. For a full 45 seconds I considered what a book of geeks-saving-the-universe stories might be like. I concluded that I would like it very much, but I’m not so sure about you.
I have ignored you of late, not posting regularly, for which I apologise. There are many reasons for this – family illness, sudden arrival of manuscripts that needed turning around quickly, demands of the day job, and so on and so forth. None of which should matter, but do. I have been meaning to praise some wondrous things, babble a bit, and so on, and it’s taken till now to get to it. Given the schedule for the next three months I’m not sure if this will change, but I’ll do what I can.
First, let us all praise wondrous things. A couple weeks back I was browsing the Strange Horizons website, and saw a review of a new Frances Hardinge novel by Farah Mendelsohn. I’d read Hardinge’s debut, Fly by Night and reprinted her short story “Halfway House” in this year’s Best, so I was intrigued to hear about this new novel, Verdigris Deep. I did a little research and was surprised to realise it had already been published and was in-store locally. I headed out and bought a copy, something I don’t do often, and pretty much read it immediately. It’s the story of three friends stuck without bus fare a long way from home who, in a moment of desperation, raid a roadside wishing well for coins. Things go awry, though, because each of the coins is a wish, and the ancient god that lives in the well derives its power from granting them. I think Mendelsohn pretty much gets it right when she says that Hardinge is the best new British writer for children since Diana Wynne Jones. The writing is terrific, the characterisation spot on, and the stories intriguing and wonderful. This really is a book you need to check out.
Second, Jeff VanderMeer. VanderMeer the writer sits in similar territory, for me, as Paul Di Filippo. I really, really love some of his work, and some of it leaves me scratching my head. This is an okay thing, even a very good thing, though. Who really wants everything to be predictable? A couple years ago Jeff had a story called “The Farmer’s Cat” in Polyphony 5. It was a marvelous sort of fractured fairy tale that I liked so much I reprinted it in my Fantasy: The Very Best of 2005. Jeff’s written a handful more of these stories, including the terrific “The Third Bear” over at Clarkesworld Magazine. I’m not sure where they come from, but I hope they end up in a book together some day. Jeff has also given a sneak peek at “Errata” over at his blog. I was fortunate to read the whole thing a couple years back, and think it’s some of his best work ever. Can’t wait to see it finally in print.
This post was to have contained other ruminations. My sudden desire to hear music from the 70s (Manassas, CSN, Peter Frampton for Chrissakes!), a desire to revisit decades-old action movies, my reading of Jay Lake’s Mainspring, and lots of other stuff, but I’ve sat on this post for two days already. I’ll come back to some or all of that soon. Till then, pop over to Clarkesworld and read the VanderMeer story and go try the Frances Hardinge book too. They’re both well worth it.
The guys over at Night Shade are having a sale. This is a chance to get all kinds of booky goodness. A new Laird Barron collection! Novels by Greg Egan, Walter Jon Williams, new Inspector Chen fun. You can even get Eclipse 1 as part of the sale. The deal is you have until midnight on Sunday, July 29th to order a minimum of four books, and Night Shade will give you 50% off. This applies to all in-stock and forthcoming. You know you NEED to do this. You’ll not get a better offer all year.
I told you all things were going to happen quickly with Eclipse! The manuscript will be soon winging it’s way towards worlds-best copyeditor Marty Halpern, and Night Shade have put up a page where you can pre-order the book. Advance reader copies are about three weeks away, and before you know it we’ll have books! I’m thinking about running a little competition to win a copy, and might even have a Starry Rift galley to include too.